Can you feel it?
The immense, daunting pressure to fulfill your societal expectations as a man?
In a perfect world, you’d be smarter than Stephen Hawking, richer than Bill Gates and stronger than Hercules could ever be. Ready to tackle any situation with the same precision and finesse that James Bond delivers in his films (tuxedo included).
Alas, you are on Planet Earth where fortune or disaster can befall just about anyone you can think of. If it is the latter, men don’t get to complain (see Page 1 of the Unspoken Rules of Men) because that somehow makes things worse. Instead, you have to be “tough as nails” and move on, even if that invisible pressure is rusting away your heart and mind.
Long story short, as a man, you must fulfill all three of these roles or be considered “weak” by that high ideal of manliness:
>Be a good provider (with money or anything else your family needs)
>Be a success at something (so we can all brag about what you do)
>Show no weakness! You have to be emotionally and physically strong (Seriously. No room for buts)
*Content above was obtained from Honestduane.
To all those who manage to pull off all three (I tip my hat to you) but for the average man who finds himself overstretched with even just one, it gets to a certain point when they find themselves tired with trying to match up to this high ideal. Some even call it quits on life itself and many weep at their funerals, wondering how such at tragedy could happen to someone who “had it altogether”.
Now, just how bad is it?
“The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) reports men are likely to kill themselves at a rate 3-4 times higher than females. Marital breakdown is often a factor” (Todd, 2015) . “For many reasons other than divorce, more than 3,000 Canadian boys and men commit suicide each year. That’s about one every three hours” (Todd, 2015).
Think it’s just about marriage? A study by The Samaritans discovered that “suicide rates were 10 times higher in boys and men of lower economic status than in affluent males” (Todd, 2015). Money and socioeconomic status also have a direct and tremendous effect on male suicide rates.
Now let’s look down south for some more statistics about this. In the US, roughly “30,000 people commit suicide each year with 80% of them being males and they kill themselves at rates that are 4 times higher than females” (Diamond, 2013). But it gets worse. “The suicide rate for those ages 20-24 is 5.4 times higher for males than for females of the same age” (Diamond, 2013).
All these numbers and more are the reason why I wrote this blog post today. We, as a society, need a change in how men talk about and deal with their feelings so we can help reduce the rate of male suicide in North America.
How can we do this? Funny enough, it starts with you (Seriously. YOU!)
If you are feeling down or depressed, please don’t hesitate to reach out to family or friends for support. All it takes is one call or text to ask for help and you can start on the path to a better you. It might be hard for some but this will only make you better and I say this because, now, you can start taking steps to understand yourself and the power you have to change your situation.
For those who see the glass as half full, be sure to check on your male relatives and friends once in a while. Just to see how they are doing. You’d be surprised what you can learn from a single conversation.
Be vigilant on this issue and if you don’t know the warning signs of suicide or what to do, check out the following link: http://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/depression-recognizing-signs-of-suicide#1
To conclude, there’s a particular quote from Reinhold Niebuhr which speaks perfectly to this situation.
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference” (Reinhold, 2016).
To live in a man’s world where various pressures surround you everyday, you need courage and wisdom to make it. I know you all have that in you and for those who don’t, reach out to a close friend or family. They usually have some to spare. 🙂
Feeling down or depressed? Reach out to a friend or family member for help or call 800-273-TALK (8255) (a on-call 24/7 hotline) if you need to talk to someone.
Do you have any suggestions on how to combat depression and male suicide? Tell us all about it in the comments below.
Diamond, Jed. “Why Men Commit Suicide: The Three Warning Signs Most People Miss.” The Good Men Project. July 13, 2013. Accessed November 13, 2016. https://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/why-men-commit-suicide-the-three-warning-signs-most-people-miss/.
Honestduane. “ELI5: Why the Male Suicide Rate Is about Four times That of the Female.” Reddit. May 22, 2016. Accessed November 15, 2016. https://www.reddit.com/r/explainlikeimfive/comments/4kiq7u/eli5_why_the_male_suicide_rate_is_about_four/.
Reinhold, Niebuhr. BrainyQuote.com, Xplore Inc, 2016. https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/r/reinholdni100884.html, accessed November 16, 2016.
Todd, Douglas. “Men and Suicide: The Silent Epidemic.” Vancouver Sun. February 21, 2015. Accessed November 15, 2016. http://vancouversun.com/news/staff-blogs/men-and-suicide-the-silent-epidemic.